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NORMAN, FALDO ARE HOT ON STEWART’S TRAIL

SHARE NORMAN, FALDO ARE HOT ON STEWART’S TRAIL

Payne Stewart carried the colors of one of pro football's oldest teams to the top of the second-round scoreboard at golf's oldest tournament Friday.

But Greg Norman and Nick Faldo were red hot on the Old Course and were in the lead.Dressed in the green and yellow of the Green Bay Packers, the U.S. PGA champion took the clubhouse lead by one stroke midway through the second day of the British Open.

Stewart shot a 4-under par round of 68 to complete 36 holes in 8-under 136, a shot better than surprising Englishman James Spence.

But Norman, the overnight co-leader with American Michael Allen at 6-under 66, chopped three more shots off par on the front nine to take the lead at 9-under after 27 holes.

He had birdies at the fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth after a bogey-5 at the second.

Faldo, two holes behind among the late starters, birdied the second, fifth, sixth and seventh to stand 9-under. Allen, meanwhile, lost a stroke at the second and another at the fourth, and was 4-under after 22 holes.

Spence, inspired by his father's recovery from a major heart attack last Christmas and playing in the Open for the first time, was the first player out on the Old Course and had an eight-birdie, one-bogey round of 65, the lowest of the tournament so far for a 7-under 137.

Also moving to 7-under but still on the course was Nick Price of Zimbabwe.

Having trouble, meanwhile, was defending champion Mark Calcavecchia and three time champion Seve Ballesteros.

Both started the day 1-under par. But Calcavecchia bogeyed the 10th, 14th and 15th, and took a double-bogey 6 on the 13th to fall 2-over for the tournament. Ballesteros, meanwhile, was 1-over with a double-bogey 7 at No. 14 and bogey-5s at 10 and 15.

They were in danger of missing the halfway cut. With low scores predominating, it looked as if the cut would be in the neighborhood of even-par 144. In 1984, the last time the Open was held at the Old Course, the cut was 148.

After failing to qualify for the Open in five previous attempts and still feeling the effects from a bout of food poisoning last weekend, Spence was one stroke ahead of Jose-Maria Olazabal of Spain, who had a five-birdie round of 67; Scotland's Sam Torrance; and two Americans, Jodie Mudd and Peter Jacobsen.

Mudd had an eight-birdie, two-bogey round of 66, while Jacobsen, who made a run at the lead Thursday, clipped two strokes off par for the 36 holes with a round of 70, the same as Torrance.

On the course at 7-under was Anders Sorensen of Denmark, who birdied the second, eagled the par-5 fifth, then birdied the seventh, ninth and 10th to move up the leader board with four holes left to play.

Other early finishers included three-time winner Jack Nicklaus, 3-under for the tournament after a second-round 70; Raymond Floyd and Ben Crenshaw at 1-under 143, Floyd with a second-round 71 and Crenshaw a 69.

Arnold Palmer, in at even-par 144 after a 1-under round of 71 in what will be his last Open. That looked like just about enough to make the cut.

Conditions were much different from the balmy sunshine of Thursday, but scores continued to plummet. The winds off St. Andrews Bay were light and the home of golf was being attacked, with Stewart doing the best of the early damage.

Stewart's trademark plus-fours come in all the NFL teams colors. Friday it was the Packers' turn, and the 33-year-old showed linebacker-like power over the Old Course.

He birdied the first hole with a wedge to two feet of the flag, got a birdie-4 at the fifth and another birdie-3 at the sixth, where he dropped a 20-foot putt, and added two birdies on the back nine - with a six-foot putt for 2 at No. 11 and a 10-foot putt for 4 at No. 14 around his lone bogey, a 5 at the 12, where he landed in a bunker for the first time in the tournament.

Stewart, with a history of strong play at the Open, said that was the secret to playing the Old Course and one reason he was sure he could add the British championship to his PGA title.

"I feel I'm capable of winning the Open championship," he said. "I'm not going to set here and say I'm going to win it. There are too many variables involved. But I'm confident of my game."

For about an hour on the increasingly chilly day, Spence was the improbable leader. He was playing, he said, for his father, James, who suffered a massive heart attack at home in south England Christmas Day.

"He's fully recovered now, but it was a very bad Christmas for our family, and it made me realize that golf isn't that important," Spence said. "I used to get so involved in my golf. Now, I take it lighter."

His father is fully recovered and, in fact, was playing golf this week. But Spence said he was a bit worried about the impact his leading the Open might have on his dad.

"Coming down the 18th, I thought, `If Dad turns on the TV and sees my name on the leader board, it might be fatal,"' Spence said.

Spence has only one top-10 finish on the European PGA Tour this year and missed the cut in the four tournaments he played before the Open.

Once he got to St. Andrews, however, he became another golfer. He had a solid round Thursday and went mad in the second round, with a birdie on the first hole with about 200 fans watching shortly after his 7 a.m. tee time. He birdied the par-4 sixth and seventh, then tore up the back nine.

After missing a birdie putt at No. 12, Spence birdied the par-4 13th with a six-footer, the par-5 14th from 12 feet after a bump-and-run chip, the par-4 16th with a 25-foot putt and another birdie-3 at the notorious Road Hole.